How did we arrive here? I ask that question after pondering the thought of how communication has changed just in my lifetime. I was born in 1970 in a small Idaho town. Party lines were still being used by most of my neighbors along our rural gravel road, and touch tone dialing wasn’t even thought of – at least not in my county. Two black and white televisions were in our household…one 14” in my parents’ room and a larger 19” in our family room. Cable tv? Not a chance. Four channels was all that was available, one of which was PBS - so unless Sesame Street was on, that didn’t count. That was just forty three years ago. Ouch. Writing that number makes it seem like a much longer time than it is, I still feel young. However looking back at all of the changes in the last four decades can be mind boggling. I watched new technology arrive and often thought “wow….this is it, THEY will never invent ANYTHING that can outdo this!”. The touch tone phone, it allowed us to call someone so much faster than before. Soon after the VCR was the next best thing to come into our household and although not a communication device it would eventually evolve into an interactive communication tool. Communicating with someone in another town, state, or country was limited to either telephone or postal mail, which my grandparents at the time still commented on how amazing it was to be able to speak with someone on the other side of the planet. But it was expensive, very expensive.
While brainstorming for this paper only a few methods of communication came to mind, oral, written, and electronic. During my research I found that communication technologies can be classified into eight different stages according to Walter Ong (Source: Theo 2011): 1. Orality (talking only)
2. Early Writing (pictorial writing then eventually phonetic alphabets, “craft literacy”, parchment). 3. Later Writing (scrolls then early bound books i.e. codices) 4. Early Print (Gutenberg and...
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